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Truck Crashes into ODOT Maitenance Truck - Reminder to be Watchful for Increasing Work on Highways
05/11/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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In one of two traffic crashes Monday involving vehicles colliding with ODOT maintenance trucks on Interstate 84, Oregon State Police (OSP) cited a commercial truck driver after he was involved in a non-injury crash east of The Dalles. The other incident west of Cascade Locks resulted in the death of a pickup driver.
 
According to OSP Senior Trooper Michael Holloran, on May 11, 2009 at 2:48 p.m. an ODOT 5-yard dump truck with a trailing crash absorber box and illuminated arrow sign was westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 96 trailing three other ODOT maintenance vehicles. The ODOT truck operated by WILLIAM GRANT MEAD, age 47, from The Dalles, was partially blocking the right westbound lane to protect the other ODOT vehicles. The overhead arrow board was illuminated to direct rear approaching traffic to move left.
 
Approaching westbound from the rear was a 2006 Mack truck pulling two tankers containing ash used to mix concrete. The truck's driver, FELIX J. BRAXTON, age 66, from Portland, reportedly misjudged his clearance and didn't move far enough to the left. The right front of the Mack truck crashed into the left rear crash absorber box. After impact, the Mack truck and trailers slid into the center concrete median flattening trailer tires. The rear tanker punctured spilling contents onto the freeway, and the truck and trailers came to rest blocking the left westbound lane.
 
A small fire started which was quickly put out by ODOT personnel, and a small diesel spill was also contained.
 
BRAXTON and MEAD were not injured. Both were using safety restraints.
 
A tow company responded, moving the damaged vehicles to the freeway shoulder while an ODOT sweeper cleaned the highway so traffic could be re-opened by 4:30 p.m.
 
Senior Trooper Holloran, who works out of the OSP The Dalles Area Command office, cited BRAXTON, who was driving for Gresham Transfer Inc, for Careless Driving.
 
In an ODOT news release and safety event earlier this month, Oregonians were asked to remember there will of record levels of highway and bridge work as we approach the time of year when we are used to seeing orange signs, cones and barrels pop up along Oregon's roads.

 
Governor Kulongoski has proclaimed May as Transportation Safety month. Along with ODOT and OSP, Governor Kulongoski encourages Oregonians to do their part in keeping Oregon's roadways safe.

 
An average of 465 work zone crashes occurs each year. The majority of people injured or killed in these crashes are drivers, passengers or pedestrians, not workers. The single biggest factor in crashes is driver inattention; that's why orange cones, variable message signs and other tools are used to alert motorists. The other major contributing factor is speed, which is why work zones require lower speed limits.